Launched in 2016, the Investing in Canada Plan is a long-term federal infrastructure plan involving the investment of $188 billion over 12 years. Of this total, $96 billion is new funding, and $92 billion is from existing infrastructure programs. Although the programs are administered by more than 20 federal departments and agencies, Infrastructure Canada is responsible for coordinating the Investing in Canada Plan and for reporting on its results.
A Rapid Overview of the Investing in Canada Plan
According to the Government of Canada, the Investing in Canada Plan is designed to achieve three objectives:
create long-term economic growth to build a stronger middle class; support the resilience of communities and transition to a clean growth economy; and build social inclusion and socio-economic outcomes for all Canadians.
The plan has the following five priority investment streams*:
$28.7 billion in public transit;
$26.9 billion in green infrastructure;
$25.3 billion in social infrastructure;
$10.1 billion in trade and transportation projects; and
$2 billion in rural and northern community infrastructure projects.
In August 2020, the federal government announced a new temporary “COVID‑19 Resilience Stream” in light of the challenges posed by the COVID‑19 pandemic to public infrastructure. This stream, which consists of $3.3 billion in existing funding previously allocated to other streams, supports short-term projects, such as ventilation improvements, active transportation infrastructure, and repairs to schools and hospitals.
According to the November 2021 update on implementation progress and funding under the Investing in Canada Plan, 74,812 projects have been approved to date, representing over $101 billion in federal funding (see Table 1).
Table 1 – Update on Federal Funding and Implementation of the Investing in Canada Plan, by Department and Agency, 2021
|Department or Agency||Total Program Allocation
|Value of Approved Projects to Date
|Canada Infrastructure Bank||15,000,000||5,686,900|
|Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation||32,847,800||12,950,603|
|Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada||382,000||344,394|
|Employment and Social Development Canada||10,152,570||2,701,206|
|Environment and Climate Change Canada||170,100||107,610|
|Indigenous Services Canada||23,768,600||9,797,955|
|Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada||2,650,000||2,382,348|
|Natural Resources Canada||1,571,500||1,662,487|
|Parks Canada Agency||20,000||17,313|
|Public Health Agency of Canada||15,400||13,484|
|Public Safety Canada||100,000||29,045|
|Regional Development Agencies||447,000||346,558|
Note: If the allocations from all agencies and departments are added, the total is close to $194.4 billion instead of $188 billion. According to Infrastructure Canada, Budget 2017 included the note “less funds existing in the fiscal framework and other revenues” to account for the subtraction of $6.415 billion from the total Budget 2017 allocation amount. Data are regularly updated by Infrastructure Canada; the last update was made on 5 November 2021. While the total for the plan ($188 billion) generally remains the same after each update, funds are sometimes transferred to other programs or moved from one department or agency to another.
Source: Table prepared by the Library of Parliament using data obtained from Infrastructure Canada, Funding Delivered under the Investing in Canada Plan, accessed December 2021.
Phase I of the Investing in Canada Plan was aimed at stimulating short-term economic growth, notably through bilateral agreements between Infrastructure Canada and the provinces and territories for the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund ($3.4 billion) and the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund ($2 billion).
Of the $81.2 billion announced for Phase II, $33 billion is expected to be delivered through a second set of bilateral agreements between Infrastructure Canada and the provinces and territories. That said, funds allocated as part of the Investing in Canada Plan are not all invested under bilateral agreements. In fact, the structure of programs, including cost-sharing arrangements and application criteria, can vary considerably from one program to another, as well as from one government agency to another.
As part of Phase II of the plan, Parliament approved a budget of $35 billion over 11 years for the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB). According to its Statement on Priorities and Accountabilities, the CIB has to ensure that “the net fiscal expense to the Government of Canada will remain under $15 billion.” In accordance with the Canada Infrastructure Bank Act, the CIB is mandated to contribute to infrastructure projects that will be in the public interest and that will generate revenue, notably through equity investments, loans and loan guarantees. In its 2021 Market Update and Investment Outlook, the CIB reported that it had $6.3 billion in CIB investment commitments as of November 2021. Also as part of Phase II of the plan, Infrastructure Canada introduced two new requirements to get a better understanding of how these projects affect climate change and what the benefits of certain projects are for underrepresented groups (e.g., women, Indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities).
In accordance with the Climate Lens requirement, projects with eligible costs of $10 million or more that are funded by Phase II bilateral agreements are generally required to include a greenhouse gas mitigation assessment and/or a climate change resilience assessment.
Furthermore, as a result of the Community Employment Benefits requirement, infrastructure projects over a certain threshold, negotiated with the jurisdiction where the project will take place, have to include an assessment of the community employment benefits for underrepresented groups. Eligible cost thresholds are found in the Phase II bilateral agreements.
Similarly, in his new mandate letter, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities was asked to collaborate with the ministers of Housing, and Diversity and Inclusion, Indigenous Services and Crown-Indigenous Relations, among others, to “support ongoing work to close the infrastructure gap by 2030, with a particular focus on expediting investments in Indigenous housing.”
Data Sources for Federal Infrastructure Investments
Since infrastructure programs are administered by more than 20 departments and agencies, monitoring, tracking and reporting processes may differ slightly across organizations.
In its latest report regarding the Investing in Canada Plan, the Office of the Auditor General highlighted ongoing problems with the reporting of infrastructure programs, particularly pre‑2016 programs. According to the report, Infrastructure Canada is “unable to report complete information on the Investing in Canada Plan.”
In addition to the source cited in Table 1 for investments by department or agency, there are several other sources that provide data related to federal infrastructure investments. Table 2 highlights some of the main sources and their features.
Table 2 – Selected Data Sources for Federal Infrastructure Investments
|Investing in Canada Plan Project Map||Infrastructure Canada Projects||Gas Tax Municipal Allocationsa||Detailed information on Transfer Payments, as per the Public Accounts of Canada|
|Indicates some of the geo-locatable projects approved under the Investing in Canada Plan. Not all funded projects can be mapped, such as studies, asset management plans and funding transfers.||Lists the projects approved by Infrastructure Canada.||Lists the yearly allocations transferred to municipalities under the program.||Lists transfer payments aggregating to $100,000 or over to a recipient. Includes all transfer payments, including those that are not infrastructure related.|
|Includes projects approved under the Investing in Canada Plan, which was launched in 2016.
Data are updated on a quarterly basis.
|Includes the projects approved by Infrastructure Canada since 2002.
Data are updated on a weekly basis.
|Covers each fiscal year going back to 2005–2006.
Data are updated on an annual basis.
|Covers each fiscal year going back to 2002–2003.
Data are updated on an annual basis.
|Map data can be downloaded in CSV format.
Contains details such as the project title, program name, delivery department/agency, recipient, federal contribution, location and geographic coordinates.
|Data can be downloaded in CSV or XLS format.
Contains details such as the project title, program name, recipient, federal contribution, location and date approved.
|Data can be downloaded in CSV or XLSX format.
Contains details such as the recipient, location and yearly allocation.
|Data can be downloaded in CSV format.
Contains details such as the ministry/department, payment description, name and location of the recipient, and total amount paid.
Note: a) On 29 June 2021, the Gas Tax Fund was renamed the Canada Community-Building Fund.
Source: Table prepared by the Library of Parliament using data obtained from Infrastructure Canada, Investing in Canada Plan Project Map; Infrastructure Canada, Infrastructure Canada Projects, Ottawa, 2016; Infrastructure Canada, Gas Tax Municipal Allocations, Ottawa, 2017; and Public Services and Procurement Canada, Detailed information on Transfer Payments, as per the Public Accounts of Canada, Ottawa, 2021. Contains information licensed under Open Government Licence – Canada.
Gosselin, Geneviève, and Emmanuel Preville. Overview of Canada’s Long-Term Infrastructure Plan. Publication no. 2019‑38‑E. Library of Parliament, 9 September 2019.
Infrastructure Canada. Building a Better Canada: A Progress Report on the Investing in Canada plan 2016–2019.
Parliamentary Budget Officer. Canada Infrastructure Bank Spending Outlook, 28 April 2021.
* According to Infrastructure Canada, the total of these streams does not add up to $96 billion due to “fiscal framework adjustments, rounding and other revenues.”
Authors: Geneviève Gosselin and Shawdy Shadmand, Library of Parliament